As a gardener, you may encounter a variety of garden pests, and ants are one of the pests you may see on raised garden beds. Well, their presence may seem bothersome to you, but you should know that their presence can have both positive and negative aspects in your garden. As other gardeners have said, they are both your friend and foe.
Control Garden Ants
There are several ways to control ants in your garden and prevent an ant infestation from getting worse. Here are some of the methods growers often use in vegetable gardens:
Get rid of juice sucking pests
Ants protect insects like aphids because of their honeydew. So, you have to get rid of similar insects to prevent the ants from coming back.
Using artificial sweeteners near ant nests
Claims that using artificial sweeteners can be deadly to ants. This causes their senses to malfunction. Artificial sweeteners overstimulate the ants' brain cells and kill them.
Repel Ants with Spices
Sprinkle some cayenne or cinnamon around the raised garden bed. This probably won't hurt the ants, but it can help repel them. Draw a thick line around your vegetable garden bed. This will prevent workers from returning inside.
Use food grade diatomaceous earth
This type of diatomaceous earth is made from fossilized diatoms or crustaceans. This fine powder can dehydrate ants and other pests like cockroaches and slugs. It is safe to use around humans, pets and plants.
It may take several weeks for the diatomaceous earth to work and kill the ants. Make sure the area around the nest and the trail where you will be applying the diatomaceous earth is always dry to keep it effective.
Ant poison trap for making sugar and borax mixture
Mix borax or boric acid and sugar in a container and place it where you can see ant tracks or nests. This mixture will attract the ants, allowing the ants to bring the mixture to their colony and slowly control the ant's problem.
Boric acid and borax are natural compounds that are toxic to both animals and humans. Therefore, be very careful where you place the mixture. Keep it out of the reach of your pets and small children.
Pour boiling water on the anthill
This only works if you know the ant's nest. If you want to use this method, you should search for anthills around your home. Just pour boiling water on the ant hill to kill the ants.
Remember, ants usually build a nest that can withstand flooding and rain. This means that you may need a few attempts to completely kill the workers and queens and eliminate the colony completely.
Effective ways to get rid of ants
If the ant population is out of control, you need a more efficient way to get rid of ants in your garden. Here are other things you can try:
dig a nest
Follow where the ants are and dig as deep into the soil as you can until you can remove the queen.
Use beneficial nematodes
These tiny "worms" enter the ants' bodies and attack them from the inside. The "worms" shed bacteria in the digestive tract, killing the ants within 24 to 48 hours.
orange peel spray
You can buy an orange peel spray, or you can make yourself a DIY citrus spray. Citrus peels contain d-limonene, a natural extract that is harmless to the soil and the environment.
This immediately strips the waxy coating off the ants, causing them to suffocate to death. Since it's a food-grade solution, it's safe to use in your vegetable garden.
Put some dish soap and water in a spray bottle and mix. Spray liberally on affected plants. It can be used not only for vegetable garden beds, but also for plants in small containers. This kills the ants and their pheromone trail.
Just make sure to use the spray on a low temperature, as using it on a sunny day can burn plant leaves.
Disadvantages of Ants in the Garden
Seeing a few ants in the garden shouldn't worry you. However, if you find more than usual, you should consider controlling the infestation before it gets worse. Here are some reasons to take immediate action when you notice an increase in the number of ants in your garden:
Ants cause property damage and suffering
All the ants you might see in your garden may not be troublemakers, but sometimes their presence has more to do with your garden experience than an impact on your vegetable growing garden bed itself. There are two types of ants you should be aware of as they are considered real troublemakers.
One of the notorious species is the fire ant, which stings when provoked. Their venom can cause painful wounds that last for days. This means that if you see fire ants swarming in the vegetable garden beds you are planting, harvesting is not going to be a good experience.
Unlike fire ants, wood ants do not sting, but they bite with their powerful jaws and spray with formic acid. This creates a burning sensation on the wound and is not a fun experience.
The most devastating problem with these ant species is their nesting habits. Carpenter ants are known to build their nests on wood and are n
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